Less than two years have passed since ASUS decided to join the trend of gaming mice with holes in the case. But better late than never. Especially since there is a chance to take into account the mistakes of competitors in this type of goods. Moreover, its new lightweight gaming mouse M4 Air from the TUF Gaming series is just the story of the optimal combination of all the basic and essential features for gaming.
|Model||ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air|
|Product page||TUF Gaming M4 Air|
|Type||Gaming (FPS/MMO/RTS games)|
|Sensor model||PixArt PAW3335DB-TZDU|
|Resolution, cpi||100 – 16 000|
|Number of buttons||6 buttons (left, middle, right, two side buttons, resolution switch) + scroll up/down|
|Maximum acceleration, g||40|
|Height of separation from the surface (LOD), mm||1–2|
|Maximum speed, m/sec||10,16|
|USB port polling frequency, Hz||125 / 250 / 500 / 1000|
|Frame rate, fps||Variable|
|Internal memory||+ (three profiles)|
|Cord length, m||2|
|Cable material||Knitting, paracord|
|The possibility of adjusting the shape of the case||–|
|Possibility of mass change||–|
|Body surface material||Plastic|
|Leg material||Teflon (PTFE)|
|Software||+ (ASUS Armoury Crate)|
|Dimensions, (L x W x H) mm||126 x 64 x 40|
|OS compatibility||Windows 10|
|Additionally||LKM and PKM switches with a life expectancy of 60 million clicks. Ultra-light frame case with antibacterial coating, resistance of the electronic filling to liquid spillage according to the IPX6 standard. A soft cable of the paracode type|
|Average cost||1799 hryvnias|
The mouse is sold in a rather simple and not particularly informative packaging, the design of which is dominated by gray and black colors.
In the delivery set there is only the user manual and the brochure with information about the warranty obligations.
The shape of the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air is classic symmetry. Most of its back and, partly, the keys are covered with triangular holes. The surface of the mouse is black, matte, grippy and pleasant to the touch. It is resistant to pollution. Not only that, the company also declares the antibacterial properties of this coating, which is achieved due to the presence of «positively charged silver ions» in it. The case itself turned out to be very light and strong. The panels of the main keys are separate, without backlash and rattle. LMC and PCM work with below-average effort and volume. Clicks are clear and tactilely informative. The resolution switch is activated with an effort slightly above average and with a characteristic plastic sound, well distinguished against the background of the sound of other buttons. The middle button is pressed a little harder than average and is quite quiet.
On the left side, there are holes only in the rear part, although the same triangular relief is built in the middle. The side buttons slightly protrude beyond the body. They have different sizes and there is a small transparency between them, which allows you to clearly distinguish the keys by touch. Clicking on them is easy and clear, with almost no free movement and with a rather loud, though not ringing, clicking sound.
The scroll wheel is rubberized and has a texture in the form of a tire. Turns very quietly in the down direction and with a slight crackle when scrolling up. All fixation positions are clearly worked out by tactile feedback. There is no backlash. The cable enters the case in the recess in the center between the keys at a decent height. A centimeter rubber insert protects it from bending.
The soft and very flexible cable has a length of 2 meters and a braiding of the «paracord» type. It does not interfere with the movements of the mouse and can be used without a holder. However, the braid tends to slip and twist around the cord. There is no ferrite filter, but there is a rubber tie that allows you to adjust the required length of the wire.
The right side of the mouse looks similar to the left, but without the side buttons.
Holes on the rear of the mouse contribute to excellent ventilation of the palm. And, what is especially unusual, the device does not have any backlight. Well done ASUS!
The ergonomics of the mouse are designed for the right hand of medium or large size and are suitable for all types of grip. Shulgi will also be able to use it, but without the side buttons. The weight of 47 grams is a record low among similar devices on the market, the mouse feels weightless. The balance of weight along the axes of symmetry is shifted forward, but this does not interfere with use. First, because of the stickiness of the housing coating. Secondly, because the rear still, as a rule, rests on the palm and does not allow the mouse to lean forward.
The base has one semicircular leg at the back and two trapezoidal legs at the front. The back half of the sole is perforated. The sensor is located in the center transversely (before it is turned to the left) and another hexagonal leg is glued around it.
To disassemble the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air, it is enough to remove the rear leg and unscrew two screws from under it.
In addition, the top cover is held by two small latches on the sides and two catches in the front. All electronics are tightly soldered on one horizontal board, which is moved to the front of the case. According to the manufacturer, the board has a coating with a degree of protection against liquid IPX6. However, if the mouse does get wet, it is recommended to unplug it and let it dry for 24 hours before using it.
Under the two main keys are red Kailh GM 4.0 mechanical switches with 60 million keystrokes. 12mm scroll wheel encoder, also from Kailh. The two side keys are equipped with SMT switches from the same company, with yellow buttons brought out through the cable to a separate vertical board.
A PixArt PAW3335DB-TZDU sensor with a separate invisible infrared LED is installed across the mouse in the center. A square microswitch with a brown rod is responsible for switching the resolution, and a similar button with a blue rod is responsible for the middle mouse key. I would hazard a guess that they are also made by Kailh.
Without installing software, the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air can be switched between four preset resolution levels of 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 cpi with the touch of a button. Switching between the three onboard memory profiles is done by pressing the resolution switch together with the middle (3 profile), front (2 profile) or back (1 profile) side buttons of the mouse.
As software, the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air uses the resource-intensive Armory Crate application, which requires download from the official website and installation. It is constantly active.
In the «Buttons» section, six keys and two scroll directions can be reassigned. Mouse and keyboard functions, macros, multimedia and Windows commands, invisibility mode, screenshot, launching Armory Crate, text input, and the ability to completely disable the key are available for assignment. All changes are saved to one of three onboard profiles.
In the sensor performance settings, there are four resolution levels that can be adjusted between 100 and 16,000 cpi in 100 cpi increments. There are polling rates of 125, 250, 500 or 1000 Hz to choose from. You can separately enable or disable angular anchoring of the cursor. And there’s also a switch to display the current resolution in the Windows pop-up message area.
In the «Calibration» section, there are settings for the height of the separation of the mouse from the surface. It can be set in two options — low and high. The first corresponds to 1 mm, and the second to 2 mm.
Mouse and software support automatic and forced checking of firmware and software code updates.
The macro editor allows you to record mouse and keyboard commands, including scroll wheel directions. The trajectory of the cursor is not fixed. One macro command contains up to 100 commands, each of which consists of a delay time associated with pressing and releasing a key. All recording and playback delays, sequence and content of commands can be easily edited after the recording is finished.
Ergonomics and testing
Testing of the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air mouse was carried out on the ASUS TUF Gaming P1 branded mat. It is a fast fabric surface with a very soft and slippery coating and an unobtrusive pattern. Its dimensions are 360x260x2 mm.
The grippy lining is made of rubber, the edges are swept and stitched around the perimeter. The mat does not smell out of the box, it is easy and quick to level after unfolding.
This is what surface packaging looks like:
The M4 Air mouse fully lives up to its name, as it feels airy and weightless when you first pick it up. This is combined with the unusual strength of the top cover, which does not produce any squeaks when pressed. The bottom panel, of course, bends slightly, but it is unlikely that anyone will do this purposefully. The coating is resistant to contamination. In addition, if it really has antibacterial properties, as the manufacturer claims, then this is doubly good. The body of the mouse has almost no perceptible inertia due to its low weight. For the same reason, the legs have extremely low sliding resistance. The cable also does not interfere with the rapid movements of the device, which is subjectively perceived not only as weightless, but also as wireless. As mentioned earlier, the weight balance of the mouse is shifted forward, but this does not affect usability in any way. The size of the mouse body is suitable for a medium or large hand and any type of grip. All buttons and the scroll wheel do not raise questions and work clearly. No particular changes were noticed in the Armory Crate software. And three on-board memory profiles allow you to do without software in the vast majority of cases.
The installed PixArt PAW 3335 sensor is largely designed for wireless applications due to its high energy efficiency. On the other hand, he also works well with a wire, even if he doesn’t even seem like a logical choice for this role. The sensor has a wide range of available resolutions, a high permissible speed of movement, is not prone to cursor crashes, and has no other parasitic manifestations in its work. The gap height is adjustable and the minimum value is low enough for competitive games. There is a noticeable level of smoothing, which, however, is a feature of many sensors of this type, as far as I’ve seen them. Although I am sure that the correct firmware of the sensor can fix this moment.
The ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air is a simple and highly thought-out gaming mouse aimed at the FPS genre. Almost every element of the structure is subordinate here. Ultra-light 47 grams and durable body with antibacterial coating, universal shape and ventilation holes, soft cable, clear buttons and correct scroll wheel. On-board memory for three profiles with the possibility of switching in real time. Complete absence of unnecessary lighting. The only question is the feasibility of the PixArt PAW3335 sensor used here. On the other hand, its capabilities are more than enough for gaming tasks.
I could not find any significant flaws in this device. Some advantage of forward body balance can be considered a feature rather than a disadvantage. Except that the set does not have enough spare legs, because they will definitely wear out intensively. But whether it is possible to purchase them later is a question.
If you are looking for an ultra-light gaming mouse for FPS without unnecessary bells and whistles, be sure to pay attention to the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air. It is possible that this model will set a new trend for this class of devices for the next few years.